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Playing With / Killer Game Master

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Basic Trope: The Game Master believes that the point of an RPG campaign is to kill the players' characters, and does everything in his power to do so.

  • Straight: The adventuring party is frequently beset by monsters several levels beyond their ability to fight them, and deadly traps around every corner.
  • Exaggerated: The Dungeon Master collapses the dungeon on the characters the moment they enter it.
  • Downplayed: The Dungeon Master lets the Ground crumble beneath them in the middle of the dungeon and forces them to do a Acrobatics Roll with somewhat low chances to not take high damage.
  • Justified:
    • The players are Min-Maxing munchkins who need an unforgiving campaign in order to pose a challenge; otherwise, said campaign would end in a session or less.
    • The Dungeon Master is running a Dark Fantasy game.
  • Inverted: The Game Master goes out of his way to avoid killing the players' characters, fudging die rolls and pulling punches to avoid a Total Party Kill.
  • Subverted:
    • After a hopeless battle against an army of half-dragon tarrasques, the party is saved by the timely intervention of the great wizard Mondo the Magnificent.
    • It seems hopeless...then Faye rolls a natural 20, nuking the black dragon the GM had them face into oblivion. The experience earns her ten level-ups.
  • Double Subverted: Mondo then attacks and kills the party for no reason, using a spell with no saving throw. The whole encounter was nothing but a cruel Hope Spot.
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  • Parodied: The Game Master keeps a set of tally marks for every Player Character that gets killed in one of his campaigns.
  • Zig Zagged: Bob kills a party every sessions, with peaks of twice a night. When players start complaining loudly, he became a Care Bear GM, never letting anything bad happen to the party. Until the players start complaining again, and so on.
  • Averted: The Game Master plays the game fairly, making no special effort to kill or save the party.
  • Enforced: "This will be the last session I'll GM with you guys, and I'm going to have some fun. Brace yourself."
  • Lampshaded:
    • "I think we could escape the void blasting gods and we can possibly outsmart the psionic demon Smurf, but I know it would be useless. Somehow, the planet will find a way to explode."
    • "Argh, why do we keep dying?! Where the hell did those ogres come from?! We're only level 2! In the middle of a city!" "Because it was funny."
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  • Invoked: "Suck it GM! You can't kill me here! IN YOUR FACE!!!"
  • Exploited: When the GM starts sending a Storm of Divine Retribution, the Wizard of the group reflects it on the villain, thus saving the party and killing the villain with a spell he casted at the entrance of the dungeon on the party.
  • Defied: When the party is about to get an undeserved bashing, a player glares at the GM and threatens to get everyone else to quit. The dragon-riding Chthulus titans steer away for no apparent reason.
  • Discussed: "Tripping rolls every five seconds? Check. A large amount of falling rocks? Check. Fighting dragons at Level 3. Check. Okay, it's official, the GM wants us dead."
  • Conversed: ???
  • Deconstructed:
    • The players get fed up with getting killed all the time and decide to walk out en masse, leaving the Game Master without a game.
    • Through some sort of magical plot device, the Game Master ends up being zapped into the world of his own campaign and gets to see what a Crapsack World it is first-hand.
  • Reconstructed:
    • Bob the sadistic DM is ditched by his friends after a couple of sessions. Later, his closest friend Charlie finds out that Bob has some social issues, and killing parties was his anger management. Charlie gets the group back, and after some costructive feedback, Bob softens a little. Only Dick refuses to play again with Bob, saying that he "violates" him, and instead starts GMing himself, killing characters by the tons.
    • The players switch to a game where being a Killer Game Master enhances the experience (e.g. Paranoia).

Back to Killer Game Master... you do have resist killer game master memorized, right? You don't? Tough luck.

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